Partially Attended

an irregularly updated blog by Ian Mulvany

Discussing Open Access - a comment

Sun Mar 23, 2014

324 Words

Discussing Open Access

I read through this piece by Rick Anderson. It’s a very good piece. It does an excellent job of articulating some of the challenges of subscription publishing and of various forms of open access publishing.

I have a couple of relativly minor issues with it.

The impression I got from reading it was that OA advocates are more shouty and incapable of a serious debate on the issue than advocates of a subscription model, and possibly those who pursue subscription models are more open minded. I don’t buy that. I agree that the behaviours that Rick points out do need to be raised, but I don’t think there is a strong balance of rationality in one side of the argument over the other. I admit I could be wrong.

When I analyse how I come to feel this way I end up drawing from the following:

  • subscription based publishers have attempted to introduce legislation restricting OA models. That speaks to an aggressive intent on that side of the argument.

  • Kent Anderson seems to be a troll, and by extension lends a trollish tone to the scholarly kitchen. One can argue whether he is a troll or not, and one can argue whether his arguments stand up or not, but the claim I make here is that his tone of writing will appear trollish to an unbiased reader. It ought be noted that I am am a biased reader - most of the products I have worked on in my career have received negative reviews on the scholarly kitchen, but to support this claim I point to the interaction between Kent Anderson and the editorial community of Wikipedia, in which it seems to me that Kent’s tone led to more heat than light in the discussion.

So to summarise, Rick’s article is great, we should have more balanced conversations, but I don’t think that one side has a monopoly on ideology.

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